FAIRMONT - Fairmont American Legion Post 36 put together a four-run rally in the home half of the sixth inning against Sleepy Eye Post 7 in a second-round Division I, 2nd District baseball tournament game at Herb Wolf Field on Friday night.
Post 7 held off Post 36 and managed to scrape out two runs in the top of the eighth to win the game, 7-6, to advance to Sunday's 1 p.m. championship game back in Fairmont.
Fairmont (8-4) plays the winner of New Ulm Gold and Worthington at 4 p.m. today. New Ulm Gold and Worthington play at 1 p.m. in an elimination game.
LOCKED ON TARGET — Fairmont American Legion Post 36 second baseman Luke Becker corrals a looping liner during Division I, 2nd District Tournament baseball action Friday night at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. Photo by Daniel Kerwin/New Ulm Journal
Sleepy Eye took a 4-1 lead after five innings. Fairmont starter Jordan Voss gave up a walk to Sleepy Eye's Josh Kopacek to start Post 7's rally in the third.
A single by Joe Meyer moved Kopacek to second base and he scored on a single to left field by Sean Mathiowetz.
Sleepy Eye added to its lead in the fourth when Jordan Anderson reached on an error and took second when Kyle Krzmarzick was hit by a pitch.
A walk to Meyer loaded the bases and another Fairmont error allowed Sleepy Eye to score its second run of the game.
Fairmont had six errors in the game, and its fourth miscue allowed Scott Salfer to reach in the fifth. Salfer scored on a single by Jordan Anderson after reaching second on a hit by Nolan Helget.
"I thought our pitchers did well today. They were getting batters to hit into plays that should've been outs. Our defense was a bit shaky at times," said Fairmont coach Scott Chirpich.
Fairmont's bats came alive in the fifth inning and they managed to scrape out one run. Andy Reiter led off with a hit for Post 36 and Luke Becker's sacrifice bunt moved him to second.
Jon Ellis reached on a mishandled ball by the Sleepy Eye shortstop and moved Reiter to third.
Spencer Chirpich hit a shot through the right side of the infield to score Reiter to make it 4-1.
Fairmont kept the offense going in the sixth when Ryan Noll pounded a hit up the middle to lead off. Mitch Pfingsten singled to left field and Jay Ruen drew a walk to load the bases.
A wild pitch scored Noll from third and Reiter delivered a hit on a low pitch down the left-field line to score Pfingsten for the second run of the inning. Luke Becker scored Ruen from third with a bloop single.
Ellis gave Fairmont a 5-4 lead and collected an RBI on a single to score Reiter from second base to cap the scoring effort in the sixth.
Sleepy Eye took the lead back in the eighth with three runs on two hits to make it 7-5.
Fairmont came back and scored in the eighth to make it a one-run game. Ellis led the way with a double to left-center, and scored on Levi Becker's double down the left-field line.
Max Waletich, who pitched the final two innings of relief, held Sleepy Eye scoreless in the top of the ninth and gave Fairmont a chance to take the win.
"We had a rally going in the ninth, but it wasn't enough," said Chirpich.
Jordan Voss got the start for Fairmont, pitching 4 1/3 innings and allowing four runs - two earned - on seven hits while walking three and striking out one.
Levi Becker came in for relief in the fifth and pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing two hits with two walks.
Waletich took the loss in his two innings of relief, allowing three runs on four hits, striking out two and walking two.
Mathiowetz pitched 7 2/3 innings for Sleepy Eye to earn the win, giving up six runs on 13 hits, striking out five and walking four.
Adam Sellner earned the save, only allowing two hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Pfingsten went 3-for-4 with a run scored to lead the offensive effort.
SE 001 120 030 - 7 10 3
Fmt 000 014 010 - 6 15 6
Sean Mathiowetz (WP), Adam Sellner (8, Sv) and Josh Kopacek. Jordan Voss, Levi Becker (5), Max Waletich (8, LP) and Andy Reiter.
2B-Jon Ellis (F), Levi Becker (F), Kyle Krzmarzick (SE) and Joe Meyer (SE).